March 24, 2005
by BOB DORAN
I CALLED DRUMMER SCOTT AMENDOLA [photo at right] NOT LONG AFTER HE had seen an ad for the "Scott Amendola Trio" gig on Saturday night, March 26, at the Blue Lake Casino Sapphire Palace. "The thing is, it's not really my band, it's a collective group," he said with sincere humility. Amendola, an incredibly nuanced drummer, has been playing "off and on" with guitarist Will Bernard, leader of Motherbug, and Wil Blades (one "L" not two), a Hammond B-3 master who serves as the semiofficial organist for John Lee Hooker's Boom Boom Room.
"We definitely need a name for the band," said Amendola, figuring that The Amendola/Bernard/Blades Trio will do for now. "We were actually talking about it last night. It's hard to name a band."
The A/B/B Trio played one of its "off and on" gigs last Saturday. "Last night was just great musically," said Amendola. "We tapped into some new stuff. Will showed up saying, `Hey man, I've been checking out this new DVD of Miles live at the Isle of Wight.' I have the DVD also; it's pretty ferocious with Jack De Johnette, Dave Holland, Keith Jarrett. Will said, `Let's do some sort of improv like that.' So our first set weaved in and out from free improv into our tunes. It was really cool, a loose but completely zoned-in sort of thing. It really felt like a band."
For the most part they split the evenings evenly between Bernard, Blades and Amendola originals, "but we also do some jazz covers, maybe a Monk tune. Last night we did "Monk's Dream." We also did a Lonnie Liston Smith song; Wil is a big fan of his."
A week after the A/B/B Trio plays at the Sapphire Palace, Amendola flies to France to join the backup band for jazz vocalist Madeleine Peyroux. (Scott plays on one track on her new record, Careless Love, which seems to be blowing up big time.) Before hitting Japan and Australia with Madeleine, Scott returns to the Bay Area for gigs with three different bands called the Scott Amendola Trio, one with Bernard but not Blades, another with Blades but not Bernard, and a third with neither of them.
Greg Camphius, guitarist/founder for The Bump Foundation called as I was assembling this column to let me know that there's a party Friday night, March 25, at the Bayside Grange (9 p.m.) celebrating the release of the eponymous album, The Bump Foundation, a collection of tunes by the always funky Arcata band. "It's a mix of instrumental grooves and funk anthems," said Camphius, formerly the guitarist for the equally funky band, Spank. "That's basically what we do, funky stuff, clap your hands funk, James Brown-type stuff," he concluded, adding that they've got four kegs reserved and a good time is guaranteed.
Ran into Nucleus drummer Pete Ciotti Friday just after he and a crowd of music fans calling themselves Arcata Music United marched from Muddy Waters to city hall banging drums and tooting horns. Pete played jazz at Muddy's that night raising funds for an Arcata initiative crafted by Greg Allen (ACLU president and former council candidate) that would basically do away with dance permits in the city.
Pam from Deep Groove Society and Pete also told me about a benefit Thursday, March 24, at North Coast Inn, a Nucleus/Deep Groove joint appearance to raise funds for a local DJ who is facing some serious medical bills.
Apparently electric music is not completely out at the Northtown coffeehouse. "I think they're trying to get right back on track but with a different approach," said Pete. "They're not going to have really loud shows, but that doesn't mean it's all super soft and mellow."
The Miles Davis tribute by Mike Kapitan and friends is on for Thursday, March 24, at the Mudd, next Thursday, March 31, it's another fine jazz combo, the Easton Stuard Quartet. This Friday they have local groovegrazzers Absynth Quartet (who also open for The Mammals at the Grange Saturday). And Saturday at Muddy Waters Pete's maniacal trio Nucleus promises to take it easy -- well, easier than usual anyway.
"Real reggae" Thursdays continues at Six Rivers March 24, with Jamaican roots man Yami Bolo and the Yellow Wall Dub Squad (who also backed Sister Carol on her recent visit here) with Yami singing tunes from his latest disc, Rebelution. Meanwhile in Arcata, "the original reggae Thursdays" roll on at Mazzotti's with DJ Patrick of High-Grade Sound and John aka Selecta Prime spinning dancehall, etc. Then on Saturday at Six Rivers it's the return of Dezarie, another of those reggae artists from St. Croix, along with Ikahba and the Green-Up Sound.
Are you ready to rock? Placebo, where they seem to have ended their noise complaints with a back door (courtesy of Arcata Councilman Dave Meserve), has three consecutive nights of rock in various flavors with Ass-end Offend down from Missoula for a Thursday, March 24, DIY hardcore show plus the slightly mellower female rockers from Olympia, Mind Your Pig, Latoya.
Friday, March 25, it's shoegazer music from S.F. with Sciflyer plus two new local combos, Bella Dramatic and Frownland and maybe, since their drummer is home on spring break, a revival of the double-Kaos noise band, The Daytime Minutes.
Saturday, March 26, Washingtonian Balkan country rockers The Strangers return to the Placebo with Oregonians, We're From Japan! (they're not) and pianoman Andi Camp, plus local songwriter Megan Weckerly.
The Rubberneckers are at the Red Radish Saturday night along with a Dell'Arte student cabaret raising funds so that Dell'Arte alumnus Keight Gleason can attend circus school in San Francisco.
That night the Eureka VFW Lounge has 3-D rock by Chow Nasty plus "fundamonium" from Postcoitus and trashy rock from Eureka Garbage Company and just maybe, another blast from The Daytime Minutes. (T.D.M. keyboardist Charlotte put the show together.)
The VFW Lounge rocks again on Sunday night lo-fi style with the amazing Lou Barlow (of Sebadoh, etc.) plus Lou's friends Alaska! I caught Lou and company last time they were here (at Northcoast Rep) and they were truly amazing. Local garage heroes Trash and Roll open the show.
Then on Tuesday, March 29, at The Alibi catch The Forty-Fives, a kick-ass, straight-shooting rock band from Atlanta, Ga., fresh from rockin' South by Southwest, plus our own garage rockers The Ravens. (Hot tip: check 2005.sxsw.com for tons of free MP3s.)
Trash and Roll is also part of a three-band lineup on Wednesday, March 30, at Humboldt Brews with The High Strung and The Capital Years. Just minutes ago, a deliveryman dropped off a copy of The Capital Years' brand new release, Let Them Drink, a collection of tunes by bandleader Shai Halperin, a former stay-at-home four-track recorder type who now fronts what seems to be a killer high-energy, lo-fi quartet. For the most part the record is good old-fashioned rock with forays into countyish rock and good songs, although the alcohol consumption theme gets overworked. TCY has had a couple of high profile gigs lately: They opened for The Pixies reunion, and they were the house band for the first week in March for Carson Daly's very late night show, Last Call.
The unstoppable Thanksgiving Brown has yet another underground hip-hop show at Rumours. This time out, Wednesday, March 30, it's Existereo (from ShapeShifters) plus Blue Bird, Astronautilus, Bar Fly and spinning, as always, T. Brown.
Next Thursday, March 31, at the Sapphire Palace, it's wildness from Hairy Apes BMX and their friends the alt. ethnomusicologists, Master Musicians of Bukkake. More on this next time. I'm out of space and outta here.
Comments? Write a letter!
© Copyright 2005, North Coast Journal, Inc.